Saturday, September 20, 2008

THE ABBEY OF VILLERS LA VILLE - Belgium

September 20, 2008


As the weather was nice (for once) I thought about visiting the Abbey of Villers la Ville. I had seen it once, but at least 40 years ago and didn't remember anything.

It is not very far from Brussels and even less from Waterloo. What I discovered then was absolutely beautiful !

The Villers Abbey (Abbaye de Villers) is an ancient Cistercian abbey located near the town of Villers-la-Ville in the Brabant province of Belgium. Founded in 1146, the abbey was abandoned in 1796. The site today contents only the ruins.

But contemporary accounts suggest that roughly 100 monks and 300 lay brothers resided in the abbey ! The lands attached to it were reaching some 100 km² of woods, fields and pasturages. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the abbey's fortunes diminished. The number of monks and the abbey's wealth disappeared and it was finally abandoned in 1796 in the wake of the French Revolution.

The Belgian state purchased the site in 1893 and launched a conservation effort. It was classed as an official historic site in 1973. The remains of the abbey can still be seen, including the cloister, refectory, kitchens, dormitories, and brewing house. I am sure the brewing house was the most important place for all these monks, they loved to drink beer.

The church, although in ruins, is an outstanding example of Cistercian architecture, with imposing vaulting, arches and rose windows.

You can read more here.



A little card showing you where the Abbey is located, between Brussels and Namur


The original Abbey as you can see it is very big.





The ruins of the church are covered with ivy.


The walls are very thick





The ceiling is very high






The construction of a railroad had also damaged they abbey.





An airplane picture of the abbey.

I think I don't have to describe more. The pictures speak by themselves.

16 comments:

GMG said...

Hi Gattina! After a short break but a long absence, I’m finally back to the blogosphere and found some time to enjoy your excellent blog…
Loved to see your Abbey pictures!
Many thanks for your comments on Blogtrotter, while I was off. It’s now still in Kos on the way to Crete! Hope you enjoy and wish you a great weekend and a nice week ahead!

Kiva said...

Wow, I didn't know you had a travel blog! Your commentary and pictures make me want to come back there even more. Lovely. Thanks for leaving the link.

MariesImages said...

What a spectacular place!! Thank you for posting more images.
There is a trip to Sicily in March & I was contemplating on going....but when I see images of Europe....::::::Sigh:::::::
I really want to go...Ü I love old stone structures.

these are my Italy Pics from my trip...
http://www.pbase.com/mariesimages/italy
When you get a chance check it out....but then, you are already used to places like that...
You will see a building in Sorrento which was an old flour mill. I couldn't get down to it, but you will see why this place"Abbey" reminded me of it.
Thanks again~
Marie
http://photographsmemoriestoo.blogspot.com/
http://journals.aol.com/mariebm56/PhotographsAndMemories/

Jan said...

AWow wht lovely pictures. So bright and green. We don't travel much but I think this might one place I would c onsider. Thanks for sharing your travel blog.

Catherine said...

If one day I come in this belgian area, you can be sure I'll visit this abbey. Thanks to show us this wonderful site. How it should be impressive at its glory time!

humanobserver said...

You are true that the pictures speak of themselves. What a wonderful place ! After seeing these snaps I can understand the value of a camera !

Reader Wil said...

Gattina, I don't how it is with you, but ruins are so much more interesting than a complete building. I always feel the past much more present and the events that happened within the walls of the ruin. Though I must confess that very old buildings create a certain atmosphere of respect for the builders who had been working for years and years at the sometimes so impressive buildings.

RennyBA said...

What a great abbey - thanks for taking us with. The pics was great as it looks like a very nice place with wonderful green nature.

claudie said...

You wrote a marvelous report with beautiful pictures here! And it was in 2008! I have missed it! Luckely you wrote today about it! It's a place to visit!

Anonymous said...

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I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Cheers
Christian, iwspo.net

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Anonymous said...

Looks like you are an expert in this field, you really got some great points there, thanks.

- Robson

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Anonymous said...

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StevieAgnes said...

Hello Gattina,

I came upon your excellent blog because I too had gone to Villers la Ville yesterday and, like you,my first visit after about 40 years!!

I was just reading up on some more about the Abbey after this reintroduction to it. Your photos are great and I agree that it is a shame about the railroad being so close to the ruins.

I do blogs about Belgium too - - mostly about Knokke.

Keep up your good work. .
Agi

Rhonda Albom said...

I wish I knew about this place when we visited Belgium. It's really lovely, especially with all that greenery climbing up the walls. I have to agree with you, it does look like my favourite abbey, Rievaulx.

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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